The Page a Day Writers Group

Amusing the Muse

Posted on: December 27, 2009

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a dry streak.  I’m nearly finished with this first book in a series and I know what I have to write, yet…I cannot write it!

I’m a pretty careful plotter (especially with this one because it is the introduction to a series, and a whole new universe!), so I always have a skeleton to work with when I sit to write.  Sometimes I even have the key dialogue planned out.  So, really it’s just a matter of filling in the whole scene with the stage directions and setting.  And still I have been sitting in front of my computer with the cursor blinking accusatorily.  Or I get a good spurt for a few minutes, then start picking apart every word I’ve written.

I turned to my lovely counterparts here at PaD and they consoled me, even suggested that I go with a little break and feed my muse.  It has been an incredibly good stretch with no writer’s block.  I’ve even had one day when I wrote nearly 10,000 words!

Good times!

The ladies were right.  My muse needed…well…to muse a bit, I guess.  I’ve been trying to feed her over the last few weeks, and not just a tiny amuse-bouche.  No, Siree!  We’ve been going whole hog over here!  It’s the least I can do, giving my muse all the sustenance she needs so she can continue to spin new tales.

Since this little glitch happened over the holidays, I’ve had the occasion to socialize a lot more too (and eat more chocolate!).  I keep forgetting how much of a vacuum we writers live in, only occasionally looking up from our work to check in on our friends and loved ones.  It’s good to get out and have a few drinks, chat with others, even co-workers!  I’ve also been in full recharge mode, as I call it.  Reading a lot more again, and watching a lot of movies/TV series.   It’s strange, but I think the video has been more helpful for my particular problem.  I have a bit of a ‘telling’ problem (I know, I know, don’t we all!).  I’m discovering that watching what directors decide to ‘show’ in a shot is really helping me decide the same thing.  Looking at the backgrounds too, seeing the moods they create.

This has given me the perfect excuse to indulge in my addiction to other imaginary universes.  Catching up on my Harry Potter film watching.  I was woefully behind!

Sorry kids.

And of course, there’s my Joss Whedon addiction.  That man gives great universe!  Too bad most of the American public was only down with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.  I just watched the whole Firefly series in addition to the feature film Serenity and I can’t believe that show got cancelled!!  It’s like The Wild, Wild West in space!  Also bummed that Dollhouse got the ax.  At least he got sufficient warning so he can still wrap it up to the viewers (and his own) satisfaction.

What amazes me about Joss is that he builds such a complete universe and he never slips.  Sometimes I think he’s made a mistake, but he always has a reason for the strange inconsistencies in his universes (e.g. the addition of Buffy’s sister, Dawn, in season 5 seemed odd.  Buffy was an only child!  But then she turned out to be a plant and everyone’s memory had been altered!  Good one, Joss!)

Maybe this is what’s plaguing my mind (in addition to doing an entire rewrite of a manuscript for an agent and still being rejected! *sob*).  I think I’m so afraid that I will miss some important universal element that will seem ham-handed if I try to slip it into a follow up book in the series.

I guess what I’m driving at is that we do need to take those breaks occasionally, amuse the muse.  I’m beginning to feel her come to, and I hope I can allay my other worries long enough to let her take off!

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3 Responses to "Amusing the Muse"

So glad to hear that you are giving your muse a vacation and taking one for yourself, too. I find it more relaxing to watch movies or TV as well. I figure that I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime, surely I can slack off a bit now and enjoy other forms of storytelling. Besides, it’s nice to have a break from words, grammar, print, typing etc. after being immersed in it all the time. Have fun with Joss!

I second that, Kirsten!

I don’t know about Joss not making mistakes – his shows are brilliant but in Buffy, Angel clearly states that vampires don’t breathe and yet they smoke (how do they light the cigarettes), and when Spike wants to act like he’s been chased he runs into the room huffing and puffing. If he didn’t breathe, why would he bother?
The point is that everyone has small glitches but for the most part, unless they are glaring and ridiculous, people get over them. It sounds like you’ve given your story a lot of thought so hopefully you’ve covered all the major points.
Wishing you luck and hope you have a good break from writing.

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The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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